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Cablegate: Farah Province: Improving Development but Worsening

VZCZCXRO1266
RR RUEHIK RUEHPOD RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #0129/01 0141143
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 141143Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2398
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 4372
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CI WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 000129

SIPDIS

DEPARMENT FOR SCA/FO DAS CAMP, SCA/A
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE, AID/DCHA/DG
NSC FOR JWOOD
OSD FOR sHIVERS
CENTCOM FOR CG Cstc-a, CG CJTF-82 POLAD

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958 N/A
TAGS: MCAP MOPS PREL PGOV PTER PHUM AF
SUBJECT: FARAH PROVINCE: IMPROVING DEVELOPMENT BUT WORSENING
SECURITY AND WEAK GOVERNANCE LEAD TO MIXED RESULTS

1. (SBU) Summary: The level of development improved in Farah even as
security worsened. Security in Farah province deteriorated in late
2007 with insurgent attacks in several districts beginning in the
province's east, then westward in an arc across the province's
southern border to Farah city and north into Herat. The United
States and Iran are important contributors of aid. Governance at
all levels from the governor down to the districts is ineffective.
End Summary.

SECURITY
--------
2. (SBU) Although the number of "significant acts" against Afghan
National Security Forces (ANSF) and Coalition Forces (CF) has
remained at approximately the same level for the past 18 months, the
overall security situation in the province has declined dramatically
as insurgents have sought to expand their influence westward. In
November, an estimated 300 insurgents, many of them believed to be
foreign fighters from Helmand, took over Gulestan district, raised
their flag and occupied it for more than a week before Afghan
National Security Forces, with belated Coalition Forces' help, were
able to reestablish government control. Insurgents also attacked
Bakwa, Khaki Safed, Pusht Rod, and Delaram districts, although they
were unable to hold these districts. ince the initial incursions
in November, insurgents have launched several repeat attacks against
each of these districts. The insurgents may attempt to establish
eastern Farah as a launching point for operations in nearby Ghor and
Herat.

3. (SBU) The Afghan National Police (ANP) continued to be a weak
presence in Farah. Although a new police chief and the Focused
District Development (FDD) process provide hope for improvement, the
ANP lack adequate manpower, training, and leadership. President
Karzai's appointment of General Sheerzai Khyalbaz as ANP Chief in
late November brings better leadership at the provincial level, but
police at the district level frequently suffer from a lack of
leadership, as many district commanders are junior officers or
soldiers. In Bakwa, Bala Baluk, and Khaki Safed districts, ANP
soldiers instead of officers lead the district police; and although
a Colonel leads the Gulestan ANP, he is widely suspected of
collaborating with the Taliban. The ANP suffered heavy losses in
their late 2007 encounters with the Taliban and are presumed to be
severely intimidated, evidenced subsequently by police units
abandoning their stations after receiving phoned threats from
insurgents. The police are undermanned in light of the declining
security situation, with approximately 1200 police, 70 percent of
whom can be accounted for in person.

DEVELPMENT
-----------
4. (U) Although the level of development in Farah improved in 2007,
few development organizations and NGOs operate in the province due
to security concerns. However, private new construction projects
are increasing in Farah city, and Farah has made clear gains in
educational opportunities. In the past year, the PRT has funded
five high schools and a School of Excellence that will provide
religious and secular higher education. Farah also has an
agricultural high school, a women's dormitory and nursing/midwife
training facility, a teacher training institute, and a women's
education center. The PRT contributed over USD 4 million to the
development of Farah in 2007 through CERP funds, and USAID is
implementing over USD 1.5 million in projects over the next several
months.

5. (SBU) Funding from non-U.S. sources also played a critical role
in Farah's development. Iran is funding a 120-km road, currently in
the survey stage, from the Iranian border into Farah city. The
Iranian government will also build a customs station on both sides
of the border. Indian engineers have begun the USD 35-million,
18-month survey for the Bakshabad dam project, a World Bank project
that will provide water and electricity to Farah when completed over
the next decade.

GOVERNANCE
----------
6. (SBU) Governor Baluch has delivered a lackluster performance in
the areas of poppy eradication, leadership, and concern for his

KABUL 00000129 002 OF 002


citizens. Governor Baluch says the right things about poppy
eradication but has a poor eradication record. The population
believes he is deeply corrupt, and he has done nothing to dispel
allegations of his corruption or involvement in the drug trade. He
seldom visits the districts and only supports development projects
that will benefit him, paying no attention to the needs of districts
further away from Farah city. Baluch appears to be nervous about
his job and recently has attempted to demonstrate to the PRT
Commander and PRToff that he is on top of the security situation in
Farah.

7. (SBU) District administration is a clear weak spot in Farah.
Currently Bakwa and Gulestan, the most volatile districts in the
province, lack district leaders. In Delaram, the brother of the
last district manager, whom insurgents assassinated in early
December, is administering the district unofficially. Although the
other districts of Farah do have district managers, it is often in
name only. In Lashwa Juwayn, Shib Koh, Pusht Rod, and Khaki Safed,
the district managers work only once or twice a month, and the
district manager in Khaki Safed is illiterate. The new ANP Chief
visited each district in Farah upon his arrival and found that only
two districts - Ana Dara and Purchamon - had managers who were
performing their jobs.

8. (SBU) Despite lack of adequate coordination and resources, many
ministry line directors perform their jobs reasonably well. The
Directors for Health and Education work closely with the PRT, are
well qualified, and care about their jobs. The Director for Women's
Affairs speaks to the PRT often and expresses good intentions, but
she does not translate ideas into action. The Director of Women's
Labor has cooperated with the PRT on a number of projects and has a
good relationship with the women of Farah. The Director for
Refugees and Repatriation, a critical position considering the
number of deportees returning from Iran, does not have many
resources but has reached out effectively to NGOs and Kabul for
assistance. Although the line directors meet monthly as part of the
Provincial Development Council, the different sectors have only held
one round of sectoral meetings since the creation of the Provincial
Development Plan in summer 2007.

9. (SBU) The Provincial Council (PC) has an effective relationship
with the people of Farah, but is intensely frustrated because of the
lack of respect the Governor and other parts of the government give
it. Although many people in Farah keep their local disputes and
problems within the tribal system, the PC has earned their trust,
and they turn to the PC for dispute resolution and problems
involving the government. One area where the PC could improve is in
outreach to the district managers and engagement with the Provincial
Development Committee to ensure that the development needs of
districts far from Farah City are considered.

WOOD

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